First division, day 13
A last minute goal from Roger gave Villarreal a 0-1 win over third placed Deportivo La Coruña and prevented a three-way tie at the top. With Pandiani injured and Diego Tristán not fully fit, Irureta gave Munitis and Luque the attacking roles, and both hit the woodwork either side of half time. But Depor were up against it from three minutes before the break when Mauro Silva was sent off for a second bookable offence, and a quick counter-attack by Coloccini and Arruabarrena set up Roger to hit the winner and take his side level on twenty points with four other teams, just two points off the Champions League spots.
The top three still have a four point gap over the rest though after last week's fourth placed side Athletic Bilbao fell 1-2 at home to Racing Santander. Spanish under 20 international Jonan García put the Basque side in front in the seventh minute with a shot from the edge of the area, but Bodipo made it all square after running on to a long ball to score. Regueiro struck the winner into an empty net the second half after Aranzubia blocked Bodipo's shot, taking the Cantabrians level with their opponents on points.
Barcelona failed to take advantage of Athletic's defeat when they were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Valladolid. In the absence of Ronaldinho, Kluivert and Saviola played together up front, and although both had several chances they could not convert any of them. Van Bronckhorst hit the post with a long shot after the break, but Makukula could have won it for the visitors when he headed wide late on.
Mallorca made it three wins in a row with a 2-1 victory over Betis. The hero of the night for the Balearic Islanders was Campano who scored a goal in each half, the first from Nené's cross and the second with a low shot. Palermo equalised for the Andalucians in between with a shot which deflected in off Fernando Niño, but the defeat leaves them languishing near the foot of the table having only picked up one point in five games.
Celta moved up level with Betis on points after a much needed 0-1 victory at Sevilla. The only goal of the game came ten minutes before half time when Jesuli volleyed the ball past Esteban after Catanha headed back Gustavo López's cross, the ex Sevilla winger refusing to celebrate out of respect for his old club. Both sides ended with ten men after Berizzo was sent off for a second bookable offence and substitute Hornos was shown a straight red for brawling with Cavallero.
Espanyol stay at the bottom of the table after losing their relegation battle at Albacete by 2-1. Tamudo put the Catalans in front early on, but Soldevilla gave away a penalty and got himself sent off for a foul on Aranda after a mistake by keeper Toni just before half time, and the striker himself converted the kick. Aranda got a second after the break, the referee turning away appeals for hands in the play leading up to the goal, and the visitors ended with nine men after Torricelli picked up a second booking. (30.11.03)
Valencia returned to top spot pending Deportivo's game on Sunday with a 3-2 win over Zaragoza. Rafa Benítez's side raced into a three goal lead by half time, with strikes from Jorge López, Vicente and then Aimar. But David Villa pulled one back immediately after the restart and Cani got another later on to set up a nailbiting finish.
Last week's leaders Real Madrid are just behind Valencia on goal difference after drawing 1-1 at Osasuna. Missing Zidane, Figo and Roberto Carlos, Queiroz's side were bettered by their opponents in the first half and went behind when Bakayoko beat Casillas with ten minutes on the clock. But a long pass from Beckham midway through the second half found Ronaldo for him to crack home an equaliser.
Atlético Madrid move up to fourth, for 24 hours at least, after beating Málaga 2-0. Although the visitors played the better football they were unable to carve out any chances, and De los Santos took advantage of a bad clearance to score an early opener. And Nikolaidis connected with an Ibagaza free kick to make it two after the break.
Real Murcia came from behind twice against Real Sociedad to save a point in a 2-2 draw. Gabilondo gave the visitors the lead in the first half from a free kick, but a similar effort after the interval from Luis García made it all square. De Paula restored the lead a minute later, but substitutes Julio Alvarez and David Karanka combined for the latter to level the scores with later on. (29.11.03)